What is Asset Management Software?
Asset Management Software is a tool that holds all your assets in a centralised database (also known as an asset register). Its principal deliverable is to ensure all your assets are visible to you. Visibility of your assets is offered by tracking every stage of your (fixed or mobile) assets.
The ultimate goal of your asset management software is to improve the profitability that you derive from your assets.
What does Asset Management Software do?
Asset Management Software records information relating to your assets—right from when you buy them (procurement), use them (operations), repair them (maintenance) and dispose them.
The term asset can mean different things to different businesses.
For a real estate or facilities business, their assets are their physical real estate.
For Information Technology businesses, assets will be their IT Infrastructure (Servers, Cloud Applications, Computers, Desktops and Mobile Devices).
For Councils, Roads, Buildings, Care Homes and Council Housing are their key assets.
For Utilities Businesses, it will be their electrical or water grid system.
Whilst the term asset means different things to different businesses, the reasons to use an asset management solution are largely the same.
Why do businesses invest and use asset management software?
#1. Limited Companies need to declare assets on their balance sheets
Every limited company has to record its immovable (fixed) and movable assets in their annual tax return. Not only do they have to record the total value of the assets but they also have to record how their assets are depreciating. For example; if you bought an asset for two million in 2018, you will have to record the asset value and also declare the value of the asset every year. Since asset management software records all the information regarding your assets, it can inform you of the total value of your assets at any given time.
#2. Visibility and Control for Technical Teams
Maintenance and Operation teams are required to record every scheduled, preventive and preventative maintenance task related to assets. Maintenance and technical costs can be as much as 4% to 20% of the total asset costs. For example, if the total value of your assets is three million, then maintenance costs can be anywhere between £120,000 and £600,000. By using asset management software, maintenance and operations teams can record all maintenance tasks related to the assets in one single place.
#3. Assets are linked with people, projects and locations
An asset is rarely a standalone entity. In most cases, an asset is related to people, a location or a project. Asset management software provides the framework to record dynamic connections between assets, people and locations. This provides a clear structure and visibility of each asset, location and people to the entire workforce which drives the productivity of the whole organisation.
#4. Staying Ahead in the Marketplace
How a business records and manages its assets can become a significant competitive advantage. For example, if you derive 2% more value per year from your assets than your competition, then across five years you will get 10% more value from your assets than your competition. A 10% advantage is significant in most markets. Asset Management Software offers a framework to implement and monitor your asset management strategy.
How do different business functions benefit from Asset Management Software?
Asset and Facilities Team
They get an on-demand view of the occupancy, workspace layout and condition of their facilities. In some cases, booking a space is directly related to revenue (exhibitions, events, hotels etc). For organisations that have multiple facilities across different locations, knowing the status of each facility is a significant capability offered by most asset management tools.
IT teams use asset management software to track desktops, laptops, mobile devices, servers, on-premise software tools and cloud-based software applications. Not only can they track the location of the devices but also usage of the software and hardware applications. This allows them to optimise their IT spend. In most cases, an asset management tool can also help mitigate cyber risks by scheduling and automating patch management.
Operations and Maintenance
Operations and Maintenance teams schedule planned and preventative repair tasks within asset management software. Assigning engineers, technicians, sending out work orders, inspection reports, service reports and details of replacements parts are all recorded in the asset management software.
In some cases, replacement parts can also be ordered via an asset management tool.
They can track and view the status of customers’ assets in asset management software to handle customer enquiries effectively and efficiently. This is mainly relevant for service-oriented businesses who repair customers’ assets.
They can negotiate better terms with suppliers by knowing the status and use of an asset over its lifecycle. Bulk buying, warranties, volume discount, and supply chain management are enhanced by knowing the combined status of all assets.
They use it to record the value of the asset from procurement to disposal. They also use it for calculating the depreciation/appreciation of assets.
What are the typical features of Asset Management Software?
Asset Register: It is a central repository of all your assets. It not only holds a list of all your assets but also holds links between an asset and the people, location and project. Some tools offer the option to define your asset register as a fixed asset register or mobile asset register. A good Asset Management System will allow you to hold any type (Fixed, Mobile, IT, Digital and Virtual) of asset.
Inventory Management: What you hold as stock or inventory is technically an asset, so most tools offer the opportunity to manage and track your inventory. This feature is very relevant for businesses who rent out their assets.
In some cases, Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems can be integrated if your inventory is fast moving.
Asset Tracking: Barcode, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and GPS (Global Positioning System) are the three types of asset tracking features. Most asset management tools offer Barcode and RFID features. GPS is relevant if you are looking to track mobile assets (your fleet or logistics assets).
Facilities Management: Workforce sitting arrangement, facilities layout, booking management and visitor management are part of the facilities management feature.
Maintenance Management: Offers framework to record adhoc and scheduled maintenance tasks. Elements like work order management, scheduling professional maintenance, parts replacement and maintenance costs are managed from this feature.
Procurement: Managing communication with suppliers, quantity–cost management, delivery management, transportation management and ordering new assets (in some tools) is done via the procurement module.
Help Desk (Also known as Service Desk): Provides a framework to record notes and interactions related to the assets of your customers. In most cases, you can assign a status to customer enquiries. Ticket Management, Incident Management and Service Level Agreement are facilitated from this feature.
Types of Asset Management Software
#1. Generic Asset Management Software
Designed to manage almost any type of assets. Includes most common features like asset register, asset tracking and reporting. Quite often the asset register is the strongest feature of this type of software.
#2. Fixed Asset Management Software
This is designed to manage fixed assets like facilities, real estate, warehouses and industrial structures. Features related to facilities like booking management, visitor management, and workplace management tend to be strong points. Mainly used by real-estate-related industries.
#3. Facilities Asset Management Software
As the name suggests, they are very strong at facilities management. Asset register, tracking, maintenance management, contract management and reporting are all designed from the ground up to address specific facilities requirements.
#4. IT Asset Management Software
Designed and built to manage IT infrastructure. Particularly strong at software usage management, network and hardware management, software entitlement and cyber risk features.
#5. Digital Asset Management Software
Designed to manage virtual and digital files, particularly relevant for media and creative industries.
#6. Infrastructure Asset Management Software
Developed from the ground up to manage critical physical assets like bridges, roads and tunnels,and public property like parks and recreational centres. Mainly relevant for government and local council organisations.
#7. Plant or Enterprise Asset Management Software
Mainly aimed at asset-intensive industries like manufacturing, chemicals, automotive, and utility companies—they are significantly strong at managing complex and capital intensive assets.
Who are the typical supporters of an asset management software project?
Finance teams care deeply about asset value and recording a business-friendly yet accurate view of asset depreciation. They drive an asset management project to recognise compounded financial returns from investment in assets. They typically tend to take a long term perspective and view asset management software as an investment.
Asset or Facilities Managers
Downtime and underutilised facilities is a serious concern for Asset and Facilities Managers—Utilisation, Safety, Security and Sustainability of facilities can be driven by an asset management tool, so it typically gets strong support from Facilities Managers.
Ensuring only licensed software is used by their workforce acts as a strong driver to deploy an IT Asset Management Software. Optimising IT spend, enhancing license compliance & reducing cyber risks are core KPI’s for most IT teams which can be achieved by effective use of IT asset management solution.
Operations or Maintenance Managers
Equipment and plant uptime drives operations and maintenance managers. Another key element for them is clear visibility of each asset status.
Assets and Projects are interlinked; an asset management tool offers them the opportunity to book or assign assets to their projects which increases the certainty of project success.
Customer Service Managers
Relating customer queries with their assets increases customer satisfaction and reduces the time required to answer customer queries; as a result customer service managers support asset management tools.
Open Source Asset Management Tools
They are a really good option if you or your team have resources to configure and support it. Open source tools are free to use but quite often require deep know-how of how to make the tool work which in turn is time intensive. If you have the time, consider open source options.
Licensed Asset Management Tools
There are 227 Asset Management Software providers in the UK. You can shortlist and compare them to see which ones suit your business the most.